A Commentary on Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: Basic Training, Volume 2 – by Calasanz

What is it about a man like Bruce Lee that has made him a martial arts legend?  While the fancy stunts of Jackie Chan and Jet Li provide us with heart stopping entertainment, most of these feats employ the use of trick photography, strings and trampolines.  What is so intriguing about Bruce Lee is that the man was real and so were his martial arts.  Regardless of who comes and goes at the box office, there will never be another Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: Basic Training was released by Bruce’s wife, Linda Lee Caldwell, in 1977.  During his lifetime, Bruce was hesitant to publish his training material because he wanted to avoid people learning from his books and then misleading the public into believing that were personally trained by him.  It is important when reading Basic Training not to get sidetracked by the antiquated training equipment.  These photographs were taken in the late 60’s and do not depict what we modern day martial artists are used to by today’s standards.  What does require your attention is his training philosophy and the means by which you may improve your overall body conditioning.  While following his training guidelines will not turn you into another Bruce Lee, you will improve your skill and fitness level if you put in the effort. 

One of the key ingredients to being able to handle yourself on the streets is good physical conditioning.  It is also important to master simple, effective strikes that may be accessed during a time where adrenaline is flooding your body and clouding your mind.  It is in these moments that simple is best.  All the fancy, rehearsed combinations fly out the window.  This book prepares you for that reality.

Basic Training wastes no time in getting to the heart of Bruce Lee’s training philosophy.  Chapter One launches into the importance of increasing your aerobic endurance and then proceeds to show you how.  This is followed by Chapter Two, entitled The On-Guard Position.  A detailed discussion of the importance of maintaining a proper on-guard stance also includes an analysis of classical fighting stances and how many of them hinder efficient defensive movement.  Correct body alignment and the importance of maintaining proper balance is also addressed in this chapter.  Basic Training then logically proceeds to developing proper footwork in Chapter Three.   Bruce Lee’s evasion principles are introduced as they show martial artists how to get out of the way of an attack.

The next two chapters look at power and speed and how to achieve both with the use of training equipment.  Bruce Lee’s famous one-inch punch is discussed in Chapter 4 and readers are taught that generating such awesome power requires the coordination of everything from the right way to make a fist, to the proper way to pivot your hip.  Using the hands and legs to strike objects like air shields, heavy bags, focus mitts and the makiwara is also demonstrated.   Speed Training talks about the importance of building lightening speed without giving your technique away to your opponent.  Bruce Lee learned about the importance of not “telegraphing” by observing the art of fencing. 

Since opening his doors in 1979, Calasanz has sold over 1,000 copies of Basic Training.  “This book inspired and helped me realize the depth of Bruce Lee’s skill,” says Calasanz.  “He wasn’t a tournament fighter who fought for a fancy plastic trophy.  Bruce Lee was someone who could survive on the streets.” Without degrading or upgrading any particular style of martial arts, Bruce Lee trained intelligently, dispensing techniques that were impractical for street survival.  Bruce Lee’s methods are useful to any martial arts practitioner regardless of their chosen style and our students are still adhering to his training philosophy in the new millennium. 

Basic Training does indeed get to the heart of its title.  This classic is easy to understand, logically sequenced and fundamentally sound.  Bruce Lee’s legacy lives on because he was …REAL…in all respects.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

Single Blow and Street Survivor: Martial Art Courses for the Real World

Most martial artists will tell you that your chances of surviving abduction once an attacker gets you into his car are slim to none.  Their advice is to fight for your life because statistics show that the consequences are grim.  On Wednesday, July 28, 2004, Larissa del Mar Fiallo, was assaulted by two men who tried to kidnap her in the parking lot of a shopping mall.  The incident made international news because Ms. Fiallo is this year’s Miss Dominican Republic.  What interested us about the story reported by CNN.com (July 29, 2004) was that Ms. Fiallo was able to escape her attackers “thanks to her knowledge of judo.”  She explained how she fought back when the two men tried to get her into their car and how she knocked over the larger one three times.  Her attackers fled the scene and an investigation is pending. While Ms. Fiallo suffered deep cuts and bruises to various parts of her body, she survived the attack and was released from the hospital several days later.

Violent crime is on the rise in the Dominican Republica as the country faces one of the “worst economic crises in decades, according to CNN.com.  Calasanz was born and raised in this country where he learned about self-defense first hand.  His experience did not come from pre-arranged tournaments with competitors wearing padding and subjecting themselves to the rules and regulations of sparring.  He learned hand-to-hand combat in an environment where a man is routinely challenged to physically defend him and others.

Calasanz has combined his real life experience and martial arts training into two courses designed to serve the needs of a public interested in fitness and self-defense.  “While we teach traditional martial arts as part of our curriculum, if people request it, most want to get into shape and learn how to fight,” says Calasanz.  “They don’t want to spend years learning forms or weapons that were used in ancient societies. And they could care less about belts and stripes.”  Most of the students who train at Calasanz are busy executives, professionals and homemakers who want a curriculum that emphasizes fitness and self-defense.  “Many of my students travel for business and are concerned with their safety in an increasingly uncertain world.  They want to be prepared to defend themselves and their loved ones.”

The essence of the Single Blow and Street Survivor Courses is to strike where an attacker is most vulnerable and to get away.   Single Blow is our basic course designed for those who wish to learn a simple, effective form of self-defense in a short period of time.  Street Survivor is a more complex version of Single Blow, which includes more techniques and technical training.  The one feature that both courses have in common is Calasanz’ Body Conditioning System.  A defensive blow is useless unless the person delivering it is able to focus his or her power.  Calasanz has always believed that the study of self-defense begins with making a connection to your physical body and learning how to use it as a weapon.  It is from there that Calasanz and his trained instructors teach you his unique philosophy of counterattacks and how to use them in any situation. 

We at Calasanz wish Ms. Fiallo a speedy recovery and commend her for her bravery in the face of extreme danger.  She serves as an example to all of us of why we study the martial arts. For those interested in either the Single Blow or Street Survivor Course, contact the school for a personal consultation. 

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

Calasanz and the Movie “Crossing the Line”: The Real Story (part 1)

When I first came to the United States I wanted to make my mark, I wanted to make a name for myself. Upon entering this country I had a goal in mind and I said it over and over again, “I came here to make a movie.” I heard what Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others had to go through in Hollywood with the politics involved in making it big and I did not want to follow that path. Even Bruce Lee went back to China because of those same politics. I kept going and would not falter on my decision, I wanted to make this movie in the U.S., not my home country of the Dominican Republic. Besides, I was only training in martial arts in the Dominican Republic part time. I was respected the first time I entered a martial arts school because of my natural ability and most of all I never slacked off.  You should also understand that I was a bit of a show off, if someone wanted to take a photo with me or asked me to do a full split, I did it immediately. All that showing off surprises me when I look back at it but I enjoyed showing off my skills and I do have a strong respect for martial arts and the instructors that had a hand in my training, especially Tameyoshi Sakemoto. I gained the trust and heart of Sakemoto because I possessed a gift to be a naturally gifted martial artist and I never abused that gift. Most of my fights were won without fighting, anyone that wanted to discuss martial arts with me understood my skills and knew that I required and deserved respect. There were some cases where I won a fight but I was fortunate that it was not too serious a fight because even though I was in good shape maybe my diet was not so good, maybe I worked too hard, put too much pressure on myself, or  made too many mistakes. When you are training hard and put that amount of pressure on yourself, regardless of how good a shape you are in, you would not be at your strongest with all that stress.

When I was eight years old when I taught my four year old brother how to hurt another kid who was bullying him. Between eight and 12 years old I knew how to take a big step forward and deliver the hardest kick to a cow that connected on its belly. There is an empty space that this animal has, I would love to know the name of that specific muscle, you hit it hard and they go down for at least one minute! I used to do that all the time, until one day I got caught, before the cow got up my father came and knew exactly what happened.

As I start training in martial arts, all my friends realized that I had a talent for what I was doing. They realized that no one on the farms in the Dominican Republic could trade kicking with me including his elders. I could easily win a fight just by kicking. Fighting was something came easy to me, I could look at a person and immediately knew when to strike, bite, punch, or kick them. I would take examples from today’s self defense techniques like MMA and Wing Chun Chi Sau and I would know where to strike just by looking at a person‘s body. I loved martial arts but my father begged me to get into boxing but I wanted more than just beating someone as a sport.

In 1975 my father and I went to see a movie made famous by Bruce Lee titled “Enter the Dragon.” I knew right away that I wanted to make a film. I started planning a trip to the U.S. I knew that I could make a business out of movies and acting. I did not want to just teach anymore, I knew that I wanted to be on the big screen. I wanted to do exactly what Bruce was did. At this point I already had a diploma and a job at a bank. I was able to convince my job to let me take a break to go to the U.S. to study. I applied for a visa and got accepted to the University of Bridgeport. When I got to the university I didn’t open a book, I was more focused on anything and everything to do with martial arts. This journey to get to the U.S. and make something of myself was realized when I opened my school. After opening the school, the idea I had long ago to make a movie would finally be reality.

To be continued….

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

WHAT IS NATURAL POWER? by Calasanz

Calasanz was about nine years old when he noticed a man insulting a lady. That man was around 22 years old, tall, and physically fit. Even at a young age, Calasanz defended the lady. If no one intervened, the fight may have ended badly for the man. I trapped this man’s head on a fence covered with barbed wire and I was choking him. I was a strong kid and thankfully for that guy, someone broke up the fight.

I was loved and famous since I was two years old with most of my fame coming from dancing, singing, and working harder than anyone else on the farm. At the age of seven I was milking 20 cows. On top of being so strong, I had high energy and my parents could not control me. One particular fight was against a young man named Alvarado who was insulting my cousin Jose.  Jose was not fighting back, so I jumped to his defense. Alvarado was older and twice my size and normally would have helped defend me did not have to interfere because I was kicking Alvarado so hard that all he could do was try to survive. This fight even became popular among the neighbors and was talked about for quite some time. I kicked like a mule in that fight. What I did to Alvarado back then was karate. I was able to teach my five year old brother how to counter attack. My brother got into a fight one day and applied what I taught him and at one point punched a kid so hard that he was down for almost three minutes. There were some bad kids around; we were the well behaved, educated kids, who did not take abuse from anyone.

Now I can reflect back to when I played softball. I was young, responsible, popular, and I worked at a bank. The bank had a softball league, so they convinced me to play, knowing that as a kid, I was a very good player.  Even though at this point in life, I was dedicated to martial arts and stopped playing other sports like baseball and softball. I decided to play the season and we won the championship. I gained popularity by hitting the ball so hard. All the players would laugh at me when I stepped up to the plate but I always turned those laughs around by getting hit after hit. During one of the games, a teammate and police officer named Brian, who was as big as a football player, and me weighing 120 pounds, both went to catch a fly ball. Second before Brian crashed into me, he screamed and said, “Look who I am crashing into today.” Brian ended up getting the worst of the collision and almost cried.  I was 16 years old and just 120 pounds.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

A Conversation about Basic Hard Striking Techniques

Below is a online conversation between Calasanz and two students discussing the YouTube video “BASIC HARD STRIKING TECHNIQUES” (shown above). The video clip shows Calasanz demonstrating how to effectively block a strong right hand from an opponent and counterpunch off that block with a powerful right hand of your own.

Calasanz: Dariusz, my experience with this is much better now, I have matured more, and now I can do this even faster. One day you should pass by and I will give you a demonstration of this video. You will love it. Even if you are in Norwalk one day, just come and say “hi” and I will talk to you for five minutes. It will be enough to improve your defense on the street. And don’t forget, if you are ever in trouble on the street, try to win the fight without fighting and that makes you not just a better person, but above all, a more skillful individual in the martial arts.

Dariusz K: I support what I believe. You showed me how to improve that power punch and I remember the feeling when the heavy bag sounded much better after only one minute of the instruction you gave me. Good stuff. Thanks.

Christopher C: See also how his feet are positioned after the strike which enables him to block right away!

Dariusz K: Watch Calasanz footwork while power punching. That makes all the difference in the world. Try it on the heavy bag next time to see instant improvement.

Calasanz: Dariusz, thanks for your observation. If you are ever around, pass by and we will elaborate even more on this. Thanks again for your comments.

Calasanz Martial Arts Drills and Point Sparring.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

I Am Just Teaching What I Love

Calasanz has a skill in which he is capable of seeing, judging, and understanding the potential of any student at any moment. I was teaching a guy who had the physique of a Marine; strong, aggressive, young, and intelligent. He looked like the type of person that an agent would promote in the modeling industry. Calasanz was judging his toughness and aggressiveness. Then I thought about the early 80’s, when our name was very strong and everyone had tremendous respect for Calasanz’s system. Calasanz would take a student, like the one previously mentioned, and in three months that pupil could easily fight in a black belt tournament like Kyoko Shin Kai. It is hard for us to talk about the name, but Calasanz deserved the popularity back then and even today. Calasanz has a good work ethic and he is still an instructor who uses his mind and coaches 50-70 students each day with the mitts from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m.

You must understand that most of these students were not competitors, but they could beat anyone with Calasanz as their trainer and this is how the name was created. From 1986 until 2003-2004, at least two students per week from all over from all over the Northeast, including New York City, New Jersey, Boston, Hartford, Connecticut and many other areas came to meet Calasanz.

Calasanz often recruited tough guys from the streets. I trained people known as street fighters, bouncers, and boxers.  Most of these new students would participate in one tournament or two and they never could lose. With every tournament they entered, they performed well and left a message and thus, good promotion for the name Calasanz.  Some of these tournaments were the most difficult in those days including the Kyoko Shin Kai, the New England Open, and the Henry Cho at Madison Square Garden. At one point my students were not training at all but instead they were doing practical training which was sometimes better than sparring. In just two weeks we decided to send 12 of our students to fight in the Olympic trials.  All my guys ended up fighting each other and some of them had to face each other for the gold medal. 

At one point there was a school where the toughest fighters were coming from, especially those fighting in the Olympics. Later on these fighters found out that all the fighting and all the winning was due to them having trained with Calasanz.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

Fighting for Your Life! – By Calasanz

Get into a good martial arts school that teaches you how to survive! Don’t spend years learning useless forms or how to use weapons that were popular in ancient societies. Who carries around a staff or sword in the real world?  Find a school with a curriculum that emphasizes overall fitness, self-defense and survival!   

Most martial artists will tell you that your chances of surviving abduction once an attacker gets you into his car are slim to none.  Their advice is to fight for your life because statistics show that the consequences are grim.  On Wednesday, July 28, 2004, Larissa del Mar Fiallo, Miss Dominican Republic, was assaulted by two men who tried to kidnap her in the parking lot of a shopping mall. 

What is interesting us about this story reported by CNN.com (July 29, 2004) is that Ms. Fiallo was able to escape her attackers because of her judo training.  She explained how she fought back when the two men tried to get her into their car and how she knocked over the larger one three times.  Her attackers eventually left the scene. While Ms. Fiallo suffered deep cuts and bruises to various parts of her body, she survived the attack and was released from the hospital several days later.

Most people are concerned with their safety in an increasingly uncertain world.  They want to be prepared to defend themselves and their loved ones.  Ms. Fiallo’s years of judo training paid off.  Are you ready to fight for your life?

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

Honoring Yourself: Women and Self Defense – by Calasanz

Women and girls live with the reality of violence on a daily basis, whether it’s date rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment.  Women have to worry about going out at night, what they’re wearing, where they’re going and who they’re going with.  Many can’t even find refuge in their own homes.  One out of every four women is a victim of violent attacks and violence does not discriminate.  Violence knows no age, marital status, class, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.  Regardless of the pervasiveness of violence against women, we have yet to see a war against it.

The war against women must begin in the heart and soul of the female population.  On a mental level, you must realize that you are worth defending and that you are your first line of defense.  On a physical level, you can make your body strong and learn the tools necessary to defend yourself. Why spend endless hours in a gym peddling a stationary bike to nowhere?  What utility is there in zoning out on an elliptical trainer?  Why not opt for a fitness regime that not only makes you strong and healthy, but also teaches you how to use your body as a weapon? 

While many fitness centers offer kickboxing, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The class you have been taking will do you no good in a real self defense situation.  Many of these courses are taught by fitness instructors who have no idea how to teach the martial arts, let alone apply them in a self defense situation.  We have seen a mass exodus from many of these so-called kickboxing classes with women (and men) suffering from a variety of injuries due to a lack of knowledge on the part of these instructors.  We have had to undo the bad habits learned in these classes that lead to poorly executed techniques, torn ligaments and even broken bones. 

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

Training Street Fighters: By Calasanz

When I opened my first martial arts school, a lot of barroom brawlers and street fighters came through my door. Some grew up in environments where they had to fight to survive while others just liked looking for trouble.

I wasn’t necessarily targeting them in my “marketing” plan.  Most of them were there to challenge me or one of my students to a fight. I earned their respect with my martial art skill which was gained partly through traditional training and partly through my own experiences with street fighters in the Dominican Republic. 

Many of them stayed on as students. As an instructor, I had to integrate these natural fighters into a class with the average martial art student who just wanted to exercise and learn a little self-defense. 

I had a few challenges dealing with street fighters in the dojo.  Some are there to prove a point and you have to worry about them causing a lot of trouble, both physically and legally. So I recommend strict supervision on the part of the instructor.

In addition, fighting outside of the dojo or tournament setting lacks rules and regulations.  Basically, anything goes for these guys, so the first lesson for the martial arts instructor to convey is the ethics of training in the dojo.  Every martial art style has some form of ethical code and it’s the instructor’s job to make sure everyone in the dojo adheres to it or they’re out! 

There are a lot of positive aspects about training street fighters. They show up with something that you can’t teach…guts! Just because someone has a black belt doesn’t mean they could fight.  There are a lot of black belts out there who would be demolished in a street fight or a real self-defense situation.  They may have a lot of technical skill, but no toughness to carry it out. 

Street fighters have a fighting spirit and that enthusiasm can often encourage and inspire classmates who lack that quality.  I have seen many of them push their more timid classmates to come out of their “shells.” 

Street fighters make good full contact fighters because they have the raw talent needed to get into the ring. The instructor’s job is to polish the skills they had when they walked in the door, introduce them to new ones and channel that talent and raw aggression into the ring. 

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

Tournament Fighting or Training for the Streets? – Part Five: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

Continued from: “Tournament Fighting or Training for the Streets? – Part Four: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”

In the 1990’s, we moved our school to 507 Westport Avenue.  I purposely wanted a school with a high ceiling so that we could have boxing and kickboxing competitions.  We started promoting our Fight Nights on a regular basis.  One day, an instructor from New York City sent two of his students to my school to take private lessons from me because they were scheduled to fight some of my people at Fight Night.  I was more than happy to have them as customers, but the problem was that they were not interested in learning anything. Their teacher had sent them to me to learn something about my system, instead all they could say was that they could knock anyone out.  On the day of the fight, they ran into some trouble.  One of them got knocked out 8 times and kept getting up.  I gave him a lot of credit.  The other guy left here on a stretcher to Norwalk Hospital and was in a coma for 4 hours.  He was so arrogant during the fight that he purposely took off his headgear and that cost him an injury that he is still paying for to this day.  The most embarrassing part of this story is that he was 34 years old and my student was only 16!

Another incident took place just before our first event.  A friend and fellow marital artist came to my school one day with a group of his best students and his challenge was that any of his students could beat mine.  I was surprised at his behavior because he and I were good friends and I even helped him organize his martial arts school when he went into business.  I had one of his guys fight a student of mine who only had one arm.  During the first fight, my student almost killed his opponent.  I personally trained this young man in the art of counterattack.  He trained hard and absorbed what I taught him.  His opponent had been training in karate for 10 years.

In another fight, a couple of my guys were matched up with competitors who participated in knockdown tournaments on a weekly basis.  My students were not competing regularly.  They were teaching classes and doing some light physical workouts to stay in shape.  Both of my students were defeated in this tournament.  People started criticizing my school and gloating about this defeat.  My goal now was to put an end to their celebration.  I challenged them to a rematch and told them to give me three weeks to get these guys in fighting shape.  Three weeks later, my students sent one opponent after the other to the hospital.  Some even retired three well known fighters and instructors.  My mission with these fights was to prove that I could use my skills to correct the mistake of letting students fight who were not personally trained by me.

One match that stayed with me was the case of a young Japanese man who was being trained by one of my students who claimed to be an authentic Thai boxer.  I let him take control of the situation and assume responsibility for this young man’s training.  On the day of the fight, this young man was beat up because of the poor training he received.  After the fight, I went into the office with the other instructors and asked for 3 weeks to train this man myself.  This would cost me over $4,000, but I didn’t care; my name was at stake here.  Three weeks later, he was able to defeat his opponent in a rematch.

I had to do this again against a group of Kung-fu stylists.  I had mismatched my students with this group, partly because their instructor used to train with me and is even in one of my commercials.  I let my personal relationship with this guy get in the way of good judgment.  My guys lost, which made their opponents very happy.  I went through the same challenge.  Over the next 2 events, I retrained my students and they were able to retire the Kung-fu instructor and his students.  In another fight, I trained a 14 year old student to go up against a guy who had been training for 8 years with 2 excellent boxers.  I trained this kid privately for one month and he was able to defeat this guy with 8 years of experience. 

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com